LONG BEACH - To open Monday night's meeting of the Ocean Beach School District, board chairman Marilyn Sheldon and superintendent Rainer Houser honored two of the lead volunteers of a community group that worked to generate support for the school levies that passed last week.

Karen Brownlee and Susan Carney were on hand to receive a small standing ovation from the board as well as thank you cards. Houser said he was informed that the district's passage rates on the levies - 61.2 percent for the maintenance and operations levy and 59.5 percent on the technology levy - were among the highest in the state during the Feb. 19 election. Of the 120 levies throughout the state, about 65 finished under 60 percent. Prior to a an inititative passed in the November election, school districts had to pass levies with a 60 percent super majority.

"I just can't tell you how grateful we are for the time and work you put into it," Houser said.

Time for new uniformsAs the meeting turned to public comment, local business owner and sports booster Butch Smith pleaded the case for having the uniforms for the junior high sports teams replaced, noting how old and worn out they are.

"They look like the 'Grapes of Wrath,'" he told the board, referencing the John Steinbeck book about desitute farmers from Oklahoma. "It really is sad."

He pointed out that the junior high volleyball uniforms were especially bad. He suggested that there be some money from the ASB fund put into this matter and then a system be put into place for replacing the uniforms every couple years, as they do at the high school. Smith said it was "pretty embarrassing" how bad of shape the uniforms are in, in comparison to other school districts in similar economic situations. Smith said he donated his coach's salary seven years ago to purchase uniforms for the seventh grade football team, and the team is still using them.

"It needs to be addresssed sooner rather than later," he said. The board agreed to look into the situation.

'Wonderful review'During his reports, superintendent Houser said the district received a "wonderful review" after their state audit results were received recently. The district passed with flying colors, but it was recommended that they continue to monitor and review financial operations and transactions in order to ensure it is able to meet its financial obligations - something that district has already been doing for some time. There were some comments from the board on the fact that the audit, which is state mandated, costs the district $16,000.

Reporting on construction, Houser noted that the floors are finished and the new seats have been installed at the Hilltop Auditorium and that the district will open bids for the construction of the new early childhood center on Feb. 27. If it works out as expected the construction should begin mid-March.

Houser wrapped up his reports by noting, "I ate my weight in crab," at the Sports Boosters Crab Feed two weeks ago. Board member Kris Kaino said he heard that the event had grossed upward of $14,000. Money raised at the event goes back into athletic programs on the Peninsula.

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